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Stranded Code 1 Whale Experiences Death During Evacuation Handling at Semawang Beach


The Bali Clean Foundation/Westerlaken Foundation responded to the stranding of a Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps), suspected to be Code 1 (still alive), on Semawang Beach, Sanur, Bali at approximately 09:00 AM WITA. The whale, measuring 2.67 meters in length, was identified as female.


Together with the Indonesian Wildlife Network Foundation, Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Bali), Semawang Beach fishermen, and the local community, the Bali Clean Foundation/Westerlaken Foundation conducted the handling by transporting the whale to the Rehabilitation Center for Marine Mammals and Turtles of the Bali Clean Foundation, located in the waters of Serangan (Seapen Floating Cage). Upon observation, numerous cookie cutter shark bites (totaling 4 wounds) and injuries from coral impact were noted.


The whale was transported on a stretcher and mattress via boat to the Seapen Floating Cage. Unfortunately, the whale died shortly before reaching the Seapen Floating Cage (at 11:08 AM WITA).


In collaboration with BKSDA Bali, TCEC Serangan, Turtle Guard, and WWF Indonesia, the whale (Code 2) was brought to our office for necropsy to determine the medical cause of death. The necropsy has been performed, revealing the following findings:


Macroscopic overview of organs in general:

- The heart appears pale, with both ventricles contracted.

- The liver is normal, with no evidence of inflammation confirmed by sharp organ edges. It has a normal consistency.

- The stomach is of normal size, and while dissected, worms were found throughout, though their quantity is not significant. No food bolus or foreign objects were found in the stomach.

- The intestines are normal, with no foreign objects in the small intestine. Remnants of food were found with a liquid consistency.

- The left lung appears very dark, indicating bleeding. The left lung sinks abnormally when a buoyancy test is conducted, while the right lung floats normally.

- The kidneys are normal in color, consistency, and shape.

- Reproductive organs (uterus and ovaries) are generally normal, but upon opening the uterus, slight bleeding is observed.

- A 10 cm diameter wound caused by a Cookie Cutter Shark bite is found at the lower part of the neck. A similar wound is also found on the right side of the body near the peduncle, and two wounds are found on the left side of the body.


Conclusion:

Death occurred due to shock and respiratory failure.


Analysis:

Stress was identified as the initial triggering factor, manifesting because, in a previous video, the whale was seen swimming normally. However, when we handled the whale with a stretcher, it was already tilting to the left and needed assistance to balance its body. This correlated with the condition of the heart. Reduced oxygen intake due to abnormal left lungs led to a decrease in oxygen distribution by the blood, initiating a momentary shock before the animal lost its life. During the necropsy, the heart appeared pale.


After the necropsy process was completed, the whale's carcass was buried at our office premises, with the entire procedure witnessed by BKSDA Bali representatives.




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